Rod MacDonald is the chief of the East River Volunteer Fire Fighters from Prince Edward Island. He has a full time job with Atlantic Enterprise Limited as a lines men and operator. But that’s not all! Rod is also the liaison to Muscular Dystrophy Canada (MDC) responsible for organizing all the fundraising and awareness activities the department holds. Rod has been fundraising with MDC for about 12 years, and got involved in the leadership role in 2007. He really enjoys being in this leadership position because, as he says it’s fun! It’s become an adrenaline rush for him to challenge himself and the department to see how much money can be raised. As well, it can be a fun team building exercise for the members to get together outside of fire fighter duties.
Muscular Dystrophy Canada is close to Rod’s heart due to his continuing support of the cause, and the friends he has met along the way. Rod has a friend who has a neuromuscular disorder whom he and fellow department members have known for over 20 years . Rod says, “To see this person at 20 walking, and now confined to a wheelchair sometimes is hard to take. This is where I get my motivation to push harder and to get other departments on the island to fundraise.”
Rod cites the best thing that’s happened to him through his MDC work was receiving a heartfelt thank you from a father from Los Angeles, California whose three year old son has Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) during our Rooftop Campout. He explains, “ It just puts a lump in your throat. It is just amazing on how good news travels.”
Rod’s favourite event has become the Rooftop Campout. East River’s first annual Rooftop Campout just happened on July 25 to 27th. Fighters braved the wind, rain and heat for 3 days camping out on the roof of the gas bar at the Ultramar and Robin Donuts at the Scotchfort Reserve on St. Peters Highway. Rod spent both nights in the elements, and fellow Fire Fighters rotated through the other nights. There were 14 men and women from the department assisting with the event by collecting donations, sleeping over and stopping by in the middle of the night to drop donations in the boot. Several news outlets covered the event including CBC and The Guardian, the local newspaper.
The Rooftop Campout exceeded Rod’s expectations and he couldn’t believe the number of people who stopped by to thank the fire fighters for their efforts. In 48 hours, the Fire Fighters raised $5,800 from the campout – what makes this even more remarkable is that the money was raised in a community of approximately 200 people.
Way to go!